Posts filed under 'Breakfast'
Kevin would be in L.A. the week before the Fourth of July. So, we set our sights on a road trip up the coast over the long weekend. Kevin picked me up at LAX, and we drove north along the coast, where the endless blue Pacific slipped from the pristine beaches of Malibu, studded with surfers and life guard stands, into golden, rolling hills and rugged coastline.
Our first stop was Big Sur, and we got there just in time for sunset. An orange sun slid down through the trees and over the ocean, and we ate at Big Sur Bakery, on the front porch, with a votive candle flickering between us.
Well, I’m here to report that it worked! The kale-centric goodbye gala for winter that I staged last time I was here really, really worked. Not more than two days after that post, spring arrived—and decidedly so. The winds were suddenly warm and the trees were all-at-once producing buds. As we walked the sidewalks near our apartment last weekend, we stopped to gawk at the fringey-yellow bushes that had burst into bloom and the pert daffodils, tucked up against the houses, that had opened up their bonnets.
Spring’s like that, I think. It arrives every year, yet it still manages to stun you.
It’s been one of those weeks. The weeks where you feel like you’re hanging on for dear life, one day hurtling toward the next, and then the next. Suddenly, it’s nearly Friday and you’ve barely caught your breath since Monday. Barely stopped to think. Barely said boo to your husband.
But so much of it has been good—the kind of good that’s completely out of the ordinary, in the best ways—so you can’t complain. Your sister-in-law got engaged. (!!!) Your sister came to town. (!!!) The sun has been out all week. (!!!) It’s been light out well before 7 a.m. and enough past 5 p.m. to make a difference. (!!!)
A quick bread is a beautiful thing. Don’t you think?
No yeast packets.
Mornings, around here, in the winter are quieter and slower. Well, I should clarify. Weekend winter mornings, around here, are quieter and slower. Weekday mornings—a blur of alarm clocks and yogurt, eaten quickly, and lost gloves, and running to catch the train—are another matter altogether. On the weekend, though, it’s still and peaceful. There’s no summery urge to throw open the windows, no fall-like need to seize the day, no spring-ish excitement about the warm air that may come. Instead, the urges go something like this: wrap up in something warm; clutch a mug of coffee; settle onto the couch, feet tucked beneath you; when hunger arrives, oatmeal.
This week, we had a bonus morning like this—one that fell smack dab in the middle of the week, courtesy of the Groundhog Day Blizzard ’11. So, with a snow day issued, Wednesday morning unfolded much like the above, including the oatmeal. Especially the oatmeal.
Here are the things I should be doing right now: making the two rounds of pie crust that I resolved to make last weekend; packing my suitcase; practicing my bowling game (as I will be ushering myself into my 30s on Saturday with a bowling birthday party, because, apparently, 30 is the new 8); cleaning out my DVR (What? You don’t consider that a pre-vacation must?); tying up a million loose ends at work; getting my nails done (only to have them destroyed in the flurry of celery-chopping, onion-peeling, pie crust-crimping, and dish-scrubbing that will soon ensue); doing a few sit-ups in a futile attempt to ward off the feasts that are about to unfold.
And the list goes on. I’m sure you all have pre-Thanksgiving lists of your own. But, for a few minutes, at least, I need to set aside my to do’s and I’m really hoping you’ll do the same. It’s about cake. Priorities, people.
Okay, so I know that Tuesday night is approximately the least opportune time to tell you all about pumpkin pancakes. For the great majority of us, pancakes are a strictly weekend endeavor. And I get that. I think of pancakes as the breakfast-time counterpart to dinner-time’s risotto: they require you to stand at the stove for a stretch of time, repeating the same motions over and over and over (pancakes: ladle the batter onto a sizzling-hot griddle, cook, flip, repeat; risotto: ladle the broth into a hot pan of arborio, cook, stir, repeat). And you can taste all that attention, all that love, all that patience when you sit down at the breakfast table to eat the pancakes (or, dinner table, in the case of risotto). But, maple-syrup-ed taste-of-love notwithstanding, pancakes simply do not factor into my Monday through Friday. They have no place in the pre-work rush.
Instead, they are best saved for a lazy weekend morning, when the smell of strong, freshly-brewed coffee hangs in the air, when the air is still and quiet and the light is filtered, when the promise of the day—a weekend day—stretches out before you, long and luxurious. That’s the time to fire up the griddle. And, sitting here on Tuesday, I realize that we’re nowhere near Saturday morning. (Do I ever.)
Kevin lodged a vague request for something banana-y and breakfast-y a couple weeks back. Normally, I am thrilled to have a request and act on it as quickly as possible, but such jump-to-it-ness simply isn’t possible when it comes to banana -based baked goods. Unless, of course, you store bananas in your freezer, an excellent practice and one that I am not organized enough to accomplish. So, I did the next best thing: I snapped up a bunch of bananas at the store. And then I waited.
When purchased, the bananas’ peels were a sunny hue, blemish-free and even tinged with whispers of lime green. In short, these bananas were completely unsuitable for baking. It wasn’t until a week later, when the bananas had softened on the kitchen counter, taking on a deeply freckled complexion, that they were ready. By that time, of course, I wasn’t in the mood to bake my regular old banana bread.
Now that was a week. Or two weeks?! No, it can’t be! But, I guess it has been. After posting on July 15, the midpoint of the month, the balance of July proceeded to swallow me whole. There was a lot of time at the office and then waning hours of daylight spent soaking up the warm, un-air conditioned air. There was a trip to Cleveland for work, which involved a mediocre hotel and less-than-mediocre food. But then, oh then, there was a trip to the mountains, to Park City in particular, for some dear friends’ wedding.
It’s been a heck of a summer. At last count, I’ve spent it in no fewer than six states: Minnesota (thrice), Michigan, Wisconsin, Colorado and California. Illinois, too, of course, though it seems like that state—my home state—fits squarely at the end of the list. To be honest, all the traveling has left me feeling a little frayed around the edges. The individual little trips have combined to give me a sometimes-overwhelming feeling that’s part jet lag, part homesickness and part exhaustion.
But never, not once, did I go hungry. These travels all came with the happy byproduct of wonderful meals and time spent cooking atop other people’s stoves; sitting around other people’s dining tables; washing, drying and returning the dishes to other people’s cupboards. These things eased the pangs of longing for my own kitchen, my regret at missing week after week of my farmers’ market.